Coffee Brewing Guide: The Percolator Coffee Recipe


Percolators are one of the most popular methods to brew coffee at home. Some people scoff at percolators, saying they could never provide the quality of coffee that other methods like, say, an espresso machine could.

The word percolator comes from “percolate”, which means for a liquid to filter gradually through a porous surface. So, the boiling water will pass through a filter, through the ground coffee, and the result is a dark, sweet coffee.

We, for one, love brewing my coffee with percolators. Their shiny, stainless steel exterior that makes them look like they’re from another era (although there are new, colorful designs), the sound of the water coming out on top as brewed coffee, ready to drink… It’s so relaxing just thinking about it!

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There are Two Types of Percolators that We Need to Know Before We Get Around to Making Coffee:

The gravity percolator. This percolator holds water at the bottom: when the water boils, it passes through a tube and comes out above the grounded coffee. This results in the boiling water passing through the coffee, and then returning to the bottom; this cycle is repeated as many times as necessary to achieve the desired result.

The pressure percolator. Or Moka pot, this invention consists of three chambers: At the bottom sits the water, above that the grounded coffee inside of a filter, and at the very top is an empty chamber which will hold the brewed coffee. Again, a tube will transport water, except in this machine, only one travel is necessary. The bottom chamber, when boiling, will create steam. The steam will push the water up, going through the coffee, and coming out on top ready to drink.

These two machines are ideal for going camping, or just to make coffee wherever you feel like it. They are so portable that you can take them with you and with just a heat source, you can have freshly brewed coffee anywhere you want!

Before we dive in further, we wanted to share that this post is sponsored by AmazonFresh! Enjoy unlimited grocery shipping for only $14.99/mo! Sign up for a FREE trial hereexclusively for our Coffee Sesh Community. Also, have a look at “4 Best Coffee Makers for Home” and see if the percolator made it on the list.

Here’s a More In-Depth Guide For Brewing Percolator Coffee:

Gravity Percolator:

  1. Place the coffee stem at the bottom of the percolator.
  2. Fill the percolator with warm water until the desired level. It is recommended to leave a reasonable amount of free space below the filter so the water doesn’t overflow into it when boiling.
  3. Place the filter/basket into the stem.
  4. Put ground coffee in the filter. The usual amount is fifteen grams of grounded coffee per cup.
  5. Put on the lid on the percolator and then turn on the heat source.
  6. After five minutes, check on it. The percolator will start to make a spurting sound, which is caused by the water sort of spewing out of the stem. Notice the color of the water that’s coming out. If it’s not dark enough for you, wait one more minute.
  7. Serve immediately.

If you’re using an electric percolator, well, shame on you. Just kidding! These machines work the same as a gravity percolator and will usually turn off automatically. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then serve.

Pressure Percolator: (Also Called Moka Pot, or Machinetta)

  1. Boil water in a kettle and then pour it into the bottom chamber of the percolator. Do not fill completely.
  2. Insert the filter into the percolator. Empty some of the water out if necessary.
  3. Grind coffee as fine as can be, then pour into the filter. Make sure it’s even, but do not press down on it or else it won’t brew properly.
  4. Screw on the top part of the machine and then place it on top of a heat source.
  5. After about five minutes, you will hear the sweet, sweet melody that indicates your coffee is almost ready. When the sound starts to die down, check on it. If there’s no more coffee coming out of the stem, it’s ready.
  6. Serve coffee. As the top chamber is untouched by anything else, the brewed coffee can sit in there without having to be served immediately, as with other machines.

With the Moka Pot, we recommend not relying too much on the sound. Sometimes, it will keep making a sound similar to the steam wand when it’s steaming milk, and trick you into thinking that’s still gurgling coffee out. This is how your coffee will get utterly burnt. Check on the coffee regularly until you’re confident enough to go by sound alone!

Is the Moka Pot brand new to your coffee-vocabulary? Check out our “Brew Guide: Moka Pot” article to learn more about this little nifty brewing method.

Although we mentioned using a fine grind, it’s all your choice. The Moka Pot was an Italian invention, intended for making espresso at home in a time when espresso machines were gigantic and only for commercial use: Espresso machines work also by percolation, and this was an attempt of making a sort of a much friendlier, analog version of that.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out our other pieces on our reoccurring BREW GUIDE series like “Brew Guide: Espresso Coffee Machine“, “Brew Guide: French Press Coffee“, or even “Brew Guide: Cold Brew Coffee“.

Are you a coffee lover? Of course you are! Become a part of our exclusive Coffee Sesh Facebook Group, Daily Coffee Talk, and join our expanding coffee community. And don’t forget— we’re on Pinterest and Instagram! Check us out for daily coffee content.

We’ll brew ya later!! ☕️

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